HUFFINGTON POST
01/26/2016 06:21 pm ET

Hundreds Of Armor-Clad Scots March The Streets Of Shetland

There were as many as 1,000 participants in this year's Up Helly Aa festival.
Participants dressed as Vikings fill the street for the annual Up Helly Aa festival in Lerwick, Shetland Islands, o
ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP/Getty Images
Participants dressed as Vikings fill the street for the annual Up Helly Aa festival in Lerwick, Shetland Islands, on Jan. 26, 2016.

Scotland's annual Up Helly Aa festival took place in the town of Lerwick on the Shetland Islands on Tuesday, marking the end of the yule season and midwinter's darkest days. The popular celebration of the influence of Scandinavian Vikings dates back to the 1880s and continues to attract hundreds of spectators.

As many as 1,000 costumed men, or "guizers," bearing shields and weapons marched through the streets of Lerwick together, the BBC reports. Participants paraded to the Royal British Legion and the Shetland Museum, led by a distinguished group of guizers called the Jarl Squad.

Each year, the festivities come to a fiery close when the guizers set a replica of a Viking longboat ablaze with their torches.

Photos from this year's event show joyous crowds of bearded, armor-clad men as they make their way through the town's streets. Take a look at the celebrations below.

A participant dressed as Vikings stands on the prow of his longboat before the annual Up Helly Aa festival in Lerwick, Shetla
ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP/Getty Images
A participant dressed as Vikings stands on the prow of his longboat before the annual Up Helly Aa festival in Lerwick, Shetland Islands, on Jan. 26, 2016.
Participants gather in Viking attire for the annual Up Helly Aa festival in Lerwick, Shetland Islands, on
ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP/Getty Images
Participants gather in Viking attire for the annual Up Helly Aa festival in Lerwick, Shetland Islands, on Jan. 26, 2016.
ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP/Getty Images
ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP/Getty Images
ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP/Getty Images
ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP/Getty Images
ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP/Getty Images
ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP/Getty Images
ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP/Getty Images
ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP/Getty Images
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